Mums of Love Island stars who died make emotional plea for ITV2 show to be axed
As the next season of Love Island prepares to start production, the mother’s of former Love Island stars Mike Thalassitis and Sophie Gradon have met for the first time.
Sophie’s mum Deborah and Mike’s mother Shirley have spoken to The Sunday Mirror as they call for action against ITV in hopes of the upcoming season being cancelled after both their children took their lives after appearing on the show.
While Love Island bosses have unveiled a new "duty of care" package for upcoming contestants on the ITV2 dating show show following the deaths of Mike and Sophie and host Caroline Flack, Deborah has dismissed it as simple "box ticking" to stop criticism from coming toward the show.
She told the publication: "It’s a disgrace that they should be allowed to bring it back after three adored, precious people with connections to the show have taken their own lives.
Referencing the death of former Love Island presented Caroline, Deborah brought attention to the shocking amount of deaths coming from faces within the series.
She went on to discuss the picking process for the show, saying: "Producers choose certain profiles they know will get people talking – but the selection process is like modern day bear-baiting. It’s like poking people with sticks just for cheap ratings."
While Shirley and Deborah sat for their meeting, they went over the list of procedures the show is planning to bring in as part of their duty of care package.
Islanders will be receiving financial advice, media training, sessions on online trolling and an aftercare package including a minimum of eight therapy sessions over 14 months after the show ends.
Deborah said about her daughter’s experience: "When Sophie took part it was still sinking in just how big it had become.
"Now everyone knows what it can do to a life and I really worry for anyone taking part. Those young people become household names.
"They’re on our screens every night for six weeks and people feel like they really know them – but Sophie was never the same after going on it.
"They don’t understand just how much the overnight fame and the trolling can affect them. They should walk away before it’s too late."
After Sophie was found by her boyfriend Aaron Armstrong, he attempted CPR for 15 minutes before realising it was too late.
He took his own life just days after her death.
An ITV statement said: “Welfare and duty of care towards our contributors is always our primary concern, and we have extensive measures in place to support the islanders before, during and after participation.
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"We have continued to evolve our process with each series, as the level of social media and media attention around the Islanders has increased.
"This includes enhanced psychological support, more detailed conversations with potential Islanders regarding the impact of participation on the show, bespoke training for all Islanders on social media and a proactive aftercare package."
Love Island is set to return to ITV2 on Monday June 28 at 9pm
For emotional support you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
- Love Island
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